Pate increases odds of voter fraud in Linn County


Since at least 2017, Iowa’s current Secretary of State (SoS) has been repeating, “Make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat”. So what does our current SoS do when he has created an opportunity for voters to cheat? Nothing. Well, nothing except send me a bill for work he erred in completing.

On 4/22/2021, I issued a technical infraction to Secretary Paul Pate for the errors he made on his No Activity Card notices. I never received a reply.

On 6/3/2021, Pate’s office issued a statement to my office for the work allegedly completed by his office. I did not remit payment as I was waiting for him to correct the errors made on the No Activity Card notices.

In August, Pate’s office notified me that they were going to send my bill to “collections” if I did not remit payment. Per my email below, I remitted 50% of the payment and asked the SoS for direction on how to correct the errors. Thus far, I have not received a response from the SoS.

Secretary Pate’s rush to inactivate 294,000 voters (likely motivated by Judicial Watch) who did not vote in the 2020 general election has made it easy for 120 formerly “pending” voters to vote in Linn County. Neither Pate nor anyone in his office seems interested in correcting the errors made by the SoS, or even acknowledging they made an error.

I challenge you to contact the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office at 1-888-767-8683 or at sos@sos.iowa.gov , and ask them what they are going to do about the voter fraud they created when they changed “pending” voters to “inactive” voters in Linn County and across the State. Maybe they will tell you? Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

From: Miller, Joel
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2021 3:31 PM
To: Burhans, Heidi [SOS] <Heidi.Burhans@sos.iowa.gov>
Subject: Partial payment of No Activity Cards
Importance: High

Director Burhans:

Last week, my office remitted a payment for 50% of the fee listed in your attached statement. Hopefully, you have received the paper check?

I only authorized the remittance of 50% of the fee due to the fact that the Office of Secretary of State (SoS) erred in mailing out No Activity Cards to several groups: 17 year olds who were not eligible to vote in the November 2020 general election, pending voters who have not been confirmed to be eligible voters, and deceased voters. Our analysis of the specific voters is included in the attached “Linn County’s analysis….”

The SoS has not provided any direction on how to correct these errors other than to follow the guidance in the Auditors’ Portal.

If you review the Tab on Pending Voters, you will note that one of the formerly Pending voters is now an Active voter and no longer an Inactive Voter. Per the SoS’s Legal Counsel, an inactive voter can vote just as easily as an active voter, so now Linn County has 120 pending voters, who have not been vetted, who can vote; whereas, they could not vote while in a pending status. Instructing us to follow the guidance in the Auditors’ Portal does nothing to correct the potential voter fraud created by the SoS.

I hereby request that the SoS provide guidance supported by Administrative Rules and/or Statutes on how to correct the Linn County voter registration records corrupted by the SoS’s No Activity Card mailing and other processes.

I am prepared to remit the remaining 50% of the fee once the errors in Linn County’s voter registration records have been resolved to my satisfaction.

Regards,

JOEL D. MILLER

County Auditor, BS, CERA

OFFICE OF LINN COUNTY AUDITOR

935 2ND St. SW | Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Ph: 319-892-5333 | Ph: 319-892-5300

From: Burhans, Heidi [SOS] <Heidi.Burhans>
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2021 2:47 PM
To: Miller, Joel <joel.miller>
Subject: Past Due No Activity Fee
Importance: High

Good Afternoon Auditor Miller:

This email is to provide you with final notice that your No Activity Mailing fee is past due. Because this fee was assessed in FY21, payment must be received immediately to ensure timely processing.

A copy of your county’s statement is attached to this email.

Regards,

Heidi L. Burhans | Director of Elections | Office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul D. Pate

AA57_2021-07-07.pdf

Linn County’s analysis of No Activity Cards mailed by SOS 8-31-2021.pdf

Make voting easy again


By Joel Miller – Exploring a run for Iowa Secretary of State in the June 2022 Democratic Primary Election – Update #1

MAKE VOTING EASY AGAIN.  That will be my mission if I am elected Iowa Secretary of State. 

What do I mean “easy again”?  Prior to 2021, Iowa set voter turnout records in both the 2020 primary election and the 2020 general election.  Voting was easy and secure during the pandemic, when a record number of voters voted by mail and voted early.

Then the majority Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate convened the 2021 legislative session and decided Iowa’s election laws needed to be changed to protect our elections from fraud.  Never mind that Iowa Republicans could not point out any massive fraud; and never mind that none of those Republican legislators were complaining about being elected with the aid of fraudulent votes.  These new election laws were based upon what people were gossiping about in other states, which never happened there or in Iowa.

The Iowa State Association of County Auditors created 2021 Election Law Changes for Iowa Voters.  It’s describes the changes that will affect voters who vote-by-mail – especially snowbirds and rural voters who depend on the United States Postal Service to deliver their absentee ballot request forms to county auditors, as well as, absentee ballots mailed from Auditors’ Offices to voters’ homes and mailed back to Auditors’ Offices by voters. (CONTINUED)

Paid for by Miller for Iowa Secretary of State Exploratory Committee (M4SOSEC) | Contributions accepted via Venmo or Zelle to Miller4IowaSOS@gmail.com

Election law changes will negatively impact snowbirds, too


Voters are starting to realize how Iowa’s new election laws are going to affect voting by mail. The email below is a summary of a contact one of my employees had with a Linn County voter that spends winters in North Carolina.


Sent: Thursday, August 5, 2021 10:11 AM
To: Miller, Joel <joel.miller@linncounty-ia.gov>
Subject: Absentee Ballot by Mail

Hi Joel-

A voter asked about the law changes in regards to the absentee ballot by mail request time and the soonest we could mail ballots.

The voter and his spouse winter in a rural spot in North Carolina and mentioned it took 13 days for them to receive their ballots (assuming he used the postmark date on the delivery envelope).

While talking to the voter, we agreed on the following points:

  1. The mail at a national level has slowed.
  2. Mail in local jurisdictions has to go to a larger city to be processed.
  3. Cutting out nine days out of mailing time will result in some voters getting the ballot too late to vote.
  4. Also in-person absentee voting has been cut down to 20 days before election day. Snow birds may get caught up in this since some leave at the first part of October.
  5. Voters in Linn County are lucky to have mail stay in the Cedar Rapids area.

I know this is nothing new but voters are starting to notice how they will be impacted in future elections.

AB


Our upcoming City/School elections in November 2021 are going to be the first time the new vote by mail laws affect a large number of absentee voters. Vote by mail voters using the Postal Service in Linn County should not experience any issues with their absentee ballots being counted, as long as they do not procrastinate and they fill out the absentee ballot request forms correctly.

My recommendation: Snowbirds and other Linn County voters using the vote by mail process from outside of Linn County may be wise to use FedEx, UPS, or USPS 1-2 day delivery services to ensure their ballots are in our hands by 8pm on election night.

Obviously, the Majority Party in the Legislature and the Governor did NOT consider the de facto “poll taxes” (express mail service charges) they were imposing on out of county voters with the new election laws. They were interested in making vote by mail and early voting as inconvenient as possible. And they really only want you to vote if you can vote in your precinct on Election Day. I view it as the Majority Party in the Legislature picking the voters they want to vote, instead of the voters picking the legislators.

Do you have a plan to vote in 2021. If not, it’s time to start planning to ensure your vote is going to count. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Election law changes will affect rural voters the most


Early in 2021, the Legislative Majority (Republicans) passed sweeping changes to Iowa’s election laws after near perfect Primary and General elections in Iowa in 2020. Sixty-three of my peers are Republican county auditors and they were hopeful our Governor, a Republican, would veto the legislation. She did not.

When voters go to vote in November 2021 election, and again in the 2022 Primary and General Elections, they need to remember that the changes they are encountering that make voting inconvenient were not created by county auditors & commissioners of elections. No, these laws were created by the Legislative Majority to make voting by mail and early voting as inconvenient as possible when compared to the elections held in 2020.

Specifically, these new laws are going to affect rural voters – especially those who rely upon the USPS for access to the ballot box. If I mail an absentee ballot request form to the Linn County Auditor’s Office from anywhere in Linn County, it will arrive the next business day assuming I beat the pickup time. The same holds true for my absentee ballot affidavit envelope. How do I know this? I measured the delivery times of every Post Office in Linn County prior to the General Election. Why does in only take one business day in Linn County? Because Linn County mail is home to the Cedar Rapids USPS mail sorting station.

But what if you are in rural Iowa and it takes one business day for your mail to get to the USPS sorting center, and one or more days to return to your county auditor? Then the same occurs when you return your voted absentee ballot. If your absentee ballot is not in your county auditor’s hands by 8pm on election night, it will not be counted. The Legislative Majority’s and Governor’s decision to reduce the vote by mail window on elections does not reflect the reality of USPS logistics in rural Iowa. If you mess up any part of the vote by mail process, you will not have time for a do over. To vote, you will have to do early in-person voting or vote on Election Day – or not vote.

The USPS is an independent agency, which is not required to adhere to the laws passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed by Iowa’s Governor. In the past they have done their best to expedite official election mail, but I doubt they were consulted when Iowa’s 2021 election laws were being written. If they had been consulted, I believe they would have recommended against shortening the vote by mail window.

If you vote by mail and you later receive a letter after the election indicating your vote did not count because your county auditor did not receive your absentee ballot on time. Let me remind you that the Legislative Majority and Governor changed the law – not Iowa’s county auditors. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

2021 Election Law Changes for Iowa Voters.pdf

Pate targeting Democratic county auditors


6/14/2021 update: On 5/28/2021, the Secretary of State (SoS) issued a 12th technical infraction (TA) to a Democratic county auditor. Thus far, 75% of the TAs known by the author to have been issued by the SoS have been issued to Democrats.

———————————————————————————————

Iowa’s current Secretary of State is targeting Iowa’s Democratic county auditors & commissioners of elections.  How did I draw this conclusion?

Fact:  Iowa has 99 county auditors – 68 are registered Republicans, 28 are Democrats, and 3 are No Party.

Fact:  The current Secretary of State has issued eleven (11) technical infractions – 6 to Democratic county auditors, 2 to the Iowa Democratic Party, and 3 to Republican county auditors.

So while Republican county auditors out number Democratic county auditors by more than two to one, the current Secretary of State issued technical infractions to Democratic county auditors at twice the rate he issued them to Republican county auditors. 

Yet, no county auditor received a technical infraction in the aftermath of the recount of votes in the Miller-Meeks v Hart recount even though errors were discovered.

And the only county to receive a technical infraction for not having enough polling places open on a recent (3/2/2021) election day was Scott County Auditor Roxanne Moritz, when it’s a poorly kept secret that the Secretary of State’s Office is fully aware of other non-compliant counties.

In Iowa, we pride ourselves on administering justice fairly.  That is not happening in our current elections environment.  Democratic county auditors are being targeted by the Secretary of State. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections  

Pate’s voter inactivations enabled potential voter fraud


One unaddressed aspect of the Iowa Secretary of State (SoS) changing the status of voters in IVoters, our state-wide voter registration & election system, is that he elevated the status of two classes of voters in the system, i.e., he created an opportunity for voter fraud to occur during the next election.

First, he raised deceased voters from dead. Prior to the No Activity Notice (NAN) process, deceased voters’ records had been “cancelled.” The NAN process changed “cancelled” voters to “inactive” voters, which would allow someone to assume a deceased voter’s identity. Did the SoS re-cancel all of the deceased voters he inactivated?

Last, the SoS changed “pending” voters to “inactive” voters, which would allow previous pending voters to walk into an early voting site or into the polls on election day, to present an ID to become “active”, and to vote … like any other voter. A “pending” voter registration applicant is a person who has filled out a voter registration form and we cannot verify they are a US citizen with either the US Social Security Administration or the Iowa Department of Transportation.

This afternoon, I emailed a public records request to Secretary Pate. I need to understand what he did or did not do to Linn County’s voter list. | Post by Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor

*****************************************

Dear Secretary Pate:

RE: Public records request related to 2021 No Activity Notices to Voters

Recently, your office mailed out No Activity Notices (NAN) to thousands of persons in the State of Iowa.  Included in those NANs were seventeen year old citizens not eligible to vote in the 2020 general election, persons whose voter registrations were “pending” in IVoters, e.g., naturalized citizens, and deceased voters, who had been “cancelled” in IVoters.

Linn County had forty-two (42) seventeen year old citizens changed from “active” to “inactive” voters in IVoters.

Linn County had 121 voter registration applicants changed from “pending” to “inactive” in IVoters.  This action, if left unchecked, will or would allow applicants who had NOT yet been verified to be US citizens, to vote in upcoming elections because, per your Legal Counsel (4/28/2021 Zoom with Iowa election officials), “inactive voters are processed exactly the same as active voters”. (CONTINUED)

Joel D. Miller – a short biography


By Rick Smith

Joel D. Miller is the elected, long-serving county auditor in Linn County, Iowa’s second-largest county and home to the state’s second largest city, Cedar Rapids.

Miller has occupied the post since early 2007 when he won a special election to fill a vacancy. He was easily reelected in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020.

As county auditor, Miller has advocated for better oversight of county spending; objected to no-bid contracts; questioned managers who added to their salaries by taking cash instead of using vacation; opposed the practice by some department heads of maintaining special bank accounts outside the purview of the county treasurer; and called for a limit on the number of employees who take county-owned cars home after work.

Miller’s tenure in elected office has featured an independence and a willingness to challenge the status quo. He has not been a “dutiful wallflower,” The Gazette in Cedar Rapids said of Miller in endorsing him for reelection along the way. Gazette columnist Todd Dorman has written that Miller has taken a place among the “rattlers of government cages.” In other words, other elected officials have not always agreed with him — from those in county and state government all the way to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. (CONTINUED)

Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor | Paid for by Miller for Iowa Secretary of State Exploratory Committee (M4SOSEC) | Contributions accepted via Venmo or Zelle to Miller4IowaSOS@gmail.com

More questions: Iowa declares 294,000 as ‘inactive’ voters


While the AP received answers to some questions and an acknowledgment of some facts – see https://desmoinesregister-ia-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=10a7269da … many questions remain pertaining to Linn County’s registered voters. For example:

1. Why did the Iowa Secretary of State skip inactivating 4,100 Linn County voters who did not vote in November 2020?


2. Why were pending voters inactivated?


3. Why implement inactivations without creating the required administrative rules?


4. Why make the inactivations retroactive?

5. Is the SoS going to communicate anything to the wrongly inactivated voters? Or the next of kin of deceased voters, whose status was changed to inactivated? If yes, when?

Posted by Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor

PRESS RELEASE: Linn County Auditor’s Statement on No Activity Mailing by Secretary of State


About 23 hours ago, I issued a Notice of Technical Infraction to the Secretary of State Paul Pate. As of 4:28pm today (4/23/2021), I have not received an acknowledgement of my email from the Secretary, his chief of staff, or his legal counsel.

Between now and the time of my Notice, we have observed changes in Linn County’s voter list, which is stored in IVoters, the statewide voter registration & elections system owned and maintained by the Office of Secretary of State. We have yet to determine whether the changes are routine maintenance and/or something nefarious.

Silence leads to conspiracy theories. Transparency leads to trust. I challenge Secretary Pate to be transparent … today.

Posted by Joel D Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

*********************************

For more information, contact:

Joel Miller | Linn County Commissioner of Elections | 319-892-5333 | joel.miller

For Immediate Release:

April 23, 2021

Linn County Auditor’s Statement on No Activity Mailing by Secretary of State

LINN COUNTY, IA – August 23, 2021 – In accordance with Iowa Code §39A.6, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller has issued a Notice of Technical Infraction and Letter of Instruction to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.

Auditor Miller claims that the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office has incorrectly inactivated thousands of Iowa voters in a recent No Activity mailing.

Auditor Miller has identified at least three populations who were incorrectly inactivated:

· Registered voters who were 17, but not yet 18 by the November 2020 General Election day

· Pending voters

· Deceased individuals whose voting status was already cancelled – effectively sending mailers to family members that a deceased cancelled voter was now instead an inactive voter

In Linn County alone, hundreds of incorrectly inactivated voters have been identified.

Auditor Miller contends that incorrectly inactivating voters sends a chill to voters across the state. It sows distrust and uncertainty while also discouraging voters from voting.

Auditor Miller also questions whether the Secretary of State should have sent the No Activity mailer this year. Senate File 413, which was enacted in March 2021, allows the Secretary of State to send a No Activity mailer to registered voters after a General Election if they did not vote in the General Election. Generally, new laws are not retroactively implemented. The No Activity mailer should be in place for any future elections. Instead, registered voters in 2020, whether they voted or not, were inactivated by the Secretary of State’s Office.

In addition, Auditor Miller notes that the Secretary of State has not implemented administrative rules for the inactivation process nor vetted the process with any auditors, as required by law. Auditor Miller will be consulting legal counsel on this matter.

In addition to the Notice of Technical Infraction, Auditor Miller calls on Secretary Pate to immediately create a plan for notifying voters of the error and rectifying this issue.

Auditor Travis Weipert of Johnson County joins in Auditor Miller’s concerns and demands that Johnson County voters who were incorrectly inactivated be notified and re-activated. ###

Linn County Auditor issues technical infraction to Iowa Secretary of State


This afternoon, I issued a technical infraction and letter of instruction to Mr. Paul Pate, Iowa’s current Secretary of State (SoS) and the chief election official in Iowa.

Why? The SoS mailed No Activity Notices to registered voters who had not voted in the November 2020 general election, and then inactivated the voters receiving those Notices. Since the SoS did not have a duty to ask my office or other county auditors to review the list of voters to receive the No Activity Notices PRIOR to the SoS mailing the Notices, duly registered active voters in Linn County were INACTIVATED. Please read the letter to the SoS for details.

Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

****************************

From: Miller, Joel
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2021 5:17 PM
To: Pate, Paul [SOS] <Paul.Pate@sos.iowa.gov>
Cc: Widen, Molly [SOS] <Molly.Hammer@sos.iowa.gov>; Ross, Michael [SOS] (Michael.Ross@sos.iowa.gov) <Michael.Ross@sos.iowa.gov>
Subject: Notice of Technical Infraction

Good afternoon Secretary of State Pate,

Attached you will find a notice of technical infraction regarding the mailing of No Activity Notices by your office.

If you have any questions after reviewing the attached letter, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

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